Warehouse manipulator control system - Olpran Olomouc

Hardware: 2x PC, OS Windows XP, Control stations: Mitsubishi
Implementation: MICROSYS, spol. s r.o., Ing.Miroslav Horák-HOZST
Date of commission: 2006 - 2007
There is a warehouse stacker system running in the company Olpran Olomouc, that manages all goods receipt/issue operations, manipulates the mobile warehouse stacker and keeps record of all the goods on stock. The warehouse contains 44 columns and 6 stores where a variable number of cargo boxes (bicycles and other material) can be stored. The dimensions of the boxe vary according to the contents.
The warehouse system has been created in the PROMOTIC SCADA software. The system controls all warehouse operations, including the mobile warehouse stacker, records all performed warehouse operations, reads and evaluates the bar codes of stored goods and multiple additional operations. The warehouse operations are being executed in an optimized way in ordet to satisfy the needs of the enduser.
The control system of the stacker is connected via the Intranet into the Helios enterprise system, where all the warehouse operations are recorded and processed. The data transfers between both systems is managed by MS SQL database interface. Both systems have mechanisms identifying the record states (waiting for warehouse intake, on stock, cancelled, etc.) a thus securing fluid request transfers between both systems.
The warehouse stacker system runs on 2 PC stations:
- warehouse operator PC – vizualization and data server
- industrial PC - placed in the switch-board of the mobile stacker

The industrial PC in the mobile stacker:

The commands for warehouse operations are transmitted wirelessly from the warehouse operator PC into the industrial PC, that is placed in the mobile stacker (rail cart). The mobile stacker is equipped by an extensible frame, for executing the warehouse operations. The application running on the industrial PC communicates with the manipulator command system and transfers the commands from the superior PC of the warehouse operator. The movement of the mobile stacker is managed by Mitsubishi PLC based on the commands from the industrial PC. In the automatic mode, the application requires no interference from the operator.

Dispatching PC - warehouse operator control centre

The application running on the warehouse operator PC is used as a basic interface for the operators. It allows displaying the goods overview in the whole warehouse, or in each shelf, the history of material receipt/issue, goods search according to specified criteria and additional operations. The system data is stored in a standard database format MS SQL.
- The system can be operated only by the warehouse operator, that is logged into the system (identified by login name and password). All warehouse operations executed by the system are logged and archived including the warehouse operator identifier, that executed the operation.
- The material receipt record is based on the bar code reader. The communication of the system with the bar code reader is based on wireless connection. The recorded material is then displayed in the receipt protocol (see picture: the receipt protocol).
- The warehouse system executes most of the operations automatically. Some special operation are still executed under warehouse operator supervision because of the need of warehouse operations checking.
- The warehouse operator PC also displays the video feed from a Web camera, that provides the visual information about the warehouse space, and the warehouse operations that are currently being executed. This way the warehouse operator has more important information regarding the operations currently being executed in the warehouse.
- The application running on the warehouse operator PC secures the communication with the superior HELIOS system (receive, process and send the material issue orders and creating and sending the material receipt cards).
- based on this information the application of the warehouse system provides the aggregate data for the HELIOS system in the form of receipt cards
- receives the material issue commands from the HELIOS system and executes them (both material issue cards or inner material transfers) – see picture: the material issue card
- also allows to finalize the unfinished material issue orders and to enter new material issue order directly into the PROMOTIC system. The results of such orders are then transferred in to the HELIOS system.
- It is possible to execute both operations affecting the HELIOS system and independent warehouse operations. Namely these are the operations transfering the goods inside the warehouse (the total status of the goods is not changed) – see picture: the inner material transfer card.
- The system provides the operators with the overview reports:
- the goods in each shelf and total in the warehouse
- executed material receipts / material issue orders
- searching for the placement of specific goods
- additional overviews, filters and reports
- The system and diagnostics tools, alarm and event system and system parameter management (access rights for each warehouse operator, etc.) are also included in the system. The system parameter setting can be executed only by the user with administrator rights.
- The warehouse system also allows remote servicing of application SW (via VPN client in enterprise intranetu). This way it is possible to provide quick and operative servicing by the supplier of the warehouse system.

The material receipt routine:

- the warehouse operator reads and records the bar code of the received goods.
- the system processes the bar code, identifies the goods type and offers ther operator the optimal place for storing such goods. The storage space is choosen based on the optimalization algorithm (warehousing strategy):
- the goods of the similar type into the same shelves, etc.
- often used goods into the closest space, etc. The warehousing strategy has been adopted to the customer specific needs.
- The warehouse operator can confirm the offered option, or can specify the warehouse position manually.
- The system executes the material receipt: the PC sends the stacker movement command into the Mitsubishi PLC
- After the operation is finished successfully the report is generated and the information is transferred into the HELIOS system

The material issue routine:

- The material issue orders are received by the warehouse sytem from the Helios system. The material issue order is processed by the by the warehouse system and divided into each warehouse operations.
- The system offers the warehouse operator the best option for material issue (according to the optimalization algorithm). The warehouse operator can confirm the offered option or enter the material position manually.
- The system then executes the material issue operations, and the operator does the final material check – by the barcode reader. This way the chance of an error is being minimised. If there is an error found the system helps the operator find the error causes (i.e. which operator did something wroong and when).
- After the operations are finished successfully the information is transferred into the Helios system.
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